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from whence he went to Brussels; then visited great part of Flanders, and afterwards Strasbourg and Louvain, where he continued some time, and obtained the degree of Bachelor in Physic. From thence he went to Geneva, in company with an English gentleman. It is a circumstance worth recording, that he had so strong a propensity to see different countries, men and manners, that even the necessity of walking on foot, could not deter him from this favorite pursuit. His German flute, on which he played tolerably well, frequently supplied him with the means of subsistence, and his learning procured him a favorable reception at most of the religious houses he visited. He himself tells us, that whenever he approached a peasant's house, he played one of his most merry tunes, and that generally procured him not only a lodging, but subsistence for the next day. This, however, was not the case with the rich, who generally despised both him and his music.
He had not been long arrived at Geneva, when he met with a young man, who, by the death of an uncle, was become possessed of a considerable fortune, and to whom Mr. Goldsmith was recommended for a travelling companion.-As avarice was the prevailing principle of this young man, it cannot be supposed he was long pleased with his preceptor, who was of a contrary turn of mind.
Mr. Goldsmith, during his residence at the college of Edinburgh, had given marks of his rising genius for poetry, which Switzerland greatly contributed to bring to maturity. It was here he wrote the first sketch of his Traveller, which he sent to his brother Henry, a clergyman in Ireland, who, despising Fame and Fortune, retired with an amiable wife, on an income of only forty pounds per annum, to pass a life of happiness and obscurity.
Our poet and his pupil continued together until they arrived at the south of France, where, on a disagreement, they parted, and our author was left to struggle with all the difficulties that a man could experience
who was in a state of poverty, in a foreign country, without friends. Yet, notwithstanding all his difficulties, his ardor for travelling was not abated; and he persisted in his scheme, though he was frequently obliged to be beholden to his flute and the peasants. At length, his curiosity being gratified, he bent his course towards England, and about the beginning of the winter, in 1758, he arrived at Dover.
His situation was not much mended on his arrival in London, at which period the whole of his finances were reduced to a few half-pence. What must be the gloomy apprehensions of a man in so forlorn a situation, and an utter stranger in the metropolis! He applied to several apothecaries for employment; but his awkward appearance, and his broad Irish accent, were so much against him, that he met only with ridicule and contempt. At last, however, merely through motives of humanity, he was taken notice of by a chemist, who employed him in his laboratory.
In this situation he continued, till he was informed that his old friend Dr. Sleigh was in London. He then quitted the chemist, and lived some time upon the liberality of the doctor; but, disliking a life of dependence on the generosity of his friend, and being unwilling to be burthensome to him, he soon accepted an of fer that was made him, of assisting the late Rev. Dr. Milner, in the education of young gentlemen, at his academy at Peckham. During the time he remained in this situation, he gave much satisfaction to his employer; but as he had obtained some reputation from criticisms he had written in the Monthly Review, he eagerly engaged in the compilation of that work, with Mr. Griffith, the principal proprietor. He accordingly returned to London, took a lodging in Green-Arbor Court, in the Old Bailey, and commenced a professed author.
This was in the year 1759, before the close of which he produced several works, particularly a periodical publication, called The Bee, and An Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe. He also
became a writer in The Public Leger, in which his Citizen of the World originally appeared under the title of Chinese Letters. His reputation extended so rapidly, and his connections became so numerous, that he was soon enabled to emerge from his mean lodgings in the Old Bailey for the politer air of the Temple, where he took chambers in 1762, and lived in a more creditable manner. At length, his reputation was fully established by the publication of The Traveller in the year 1765. His Vicar of Wakefield followed his Traveller, and his History of England was followed by the performance of his Comedy of The Good-natured Man, all which contributed to place him among the first rank of the poets of these times.
The Good-natured Man was acted at Covent-Garden Theatre in the year 1768. Many parts of this play exhibit the strongest indications of our author's comic talents. There is, perhaps, no character on the stage more happily imagined, and more highly finished than Croaker's; nor do we recollect so original and successful an incident as that of the letter, which he conceives to be the composition of the incendiary, and feels a thousand ridiculous horrors in consequence of his ab surd apprehension. The audience, however, having been just before exalted on the sentimental stilts of False Delicacy, a Comedy by Mr. Kelly, they regarded a few scenes in Mr. Goldsmith's piece as too low for their entertainment, and therefore treated them with unjustifiable severity. Nevertheless The Good-natured Man succeeded, though in a degree inferior to its merit. The prologue to it, which is excellent, was written by Dr. Samuel Johnson.
In 1773, the Comedy of She Stoops to Conquer, or The Mistakes of a Night, was acted at Covent-Garden TheaThis piece was considered as a farce by some writerf; even if so, it must be ranked among the farces of a man of genius. One of the most ludicrous circumstanees it contains, which is that of the robbery, is said to be borrowed from Albamazzar.
Mr. Colman, who was then a manager of the theatre, had very little opinion of this piece, and made so keen a remark on it, while in rehearsal, that the Doctor never forgave him for it. The piece, however, succeeded contrary to Mr. Colman's expectations, being recei ved with uncommon applause by the audience.
The last theatrical piece the Doctor produced, was The Grumbler, a Farce, altered from Sedley. It was acted at Covent-Garden, in 1773, for the benefit of Mr. Quick, but it was acted only one night, and was never printed.
The Doctor might, with a little attention to prudence and economy, have placed himself in a state above want and dependence. He is said to have acquired, in one year, one thousand eight hundred pounds; and the advantages arising from his writings were very considerable for many years before his death. But these were rendered useless by an improvident liberakity, which prevented his distinguishing properly the objects of his generosity; and an unhappy attachment to gaming, with the arts of which he was very little acquainted. He therefore remained at times as much embarrassed in his circumstances, as when his income was in its lowest and most precarious state.
He had been for some years, at different times, affected with a violent stranguary, which contributed to embitter the latter part of his life, and which, united with the vexations he suffered upon other occasions, brought on a kind of habitual despondency. In this condition he was attacked by a nervous fever, which, in spite of the most able medical assistance, terminated in his dissolution on the 4th day of April, 1774, in the for ty-third year of his age.
His remains were deposited in the burial-ground belonging to the Temple, and a monument hath since been erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey, at the expense of a literary club to which he belonged. It consists of a large medallion, exhibiting a good likeness of the Doctor, embellished with literary ornaments; underneath which is a tablet of white marble, with the
following inscription, written by his friend Dr. Samuel Johnson.
This Monument is raised
Poet, Natural Philosopher, and Historian; Who left no species of writing untouched, or Unadorn❜d by his pen,
Whether to move laughter,
Or draw tears:
He was a powerful master
Though at the same time a gentle tyrant;
In expression at once noble,
His memory will last
As long as society retains affection,
And reading wants not her admirers.
Where Pallas had set her name,
29th Nov. 1731.
He was educated at Dublin,